Several enjoyable months out and about taking photos

Some lovely colourful photographs to brighten up a rainy summer’s day.

Jane Risdon

The gardens at Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire, England

Those of you who pop in often will know I love to walk and take photos. Sometimes I go off for a ‘jolly,’ and write about what I have seen and experienced, such as the gorgeous country homes, villages, churches and cathedrals, we have in this green and pleasant land we call England. Other times I just like to show the photos.

Well, this time I am just showing photos for you to enjoy. Light relief from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

Cliveden House: made notorious because of what became known as ‘The Profumo Affair.’

Cliveden House now a hotel once the home of the Astor family and where the (now) Duchess of Sussex spent the night before her wedding to Prince Harry.

Savill Gardens part of Windsor Great Park on The Queen’s estate in Berkshire.

Savill Gardens

Savill Gardens

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Significant Songs (207)

Graham Bonnet was a great singer for Rainbow, and this was a great period for British music.


Since You’ve Been Gone.

Many of you will be well aware that I am not a fan of the musical genre commonly known as ‘Rock’. However, I was a fan of the band Argent, and this was written by the genius behind that band, Russ Ballard, who released it in 1976.

It was covered after that, and I generally managed to ignore those cover versions. In 1979, British band Rainbow came along with their version. That band was what was known as a ‘super-group’, comprising former members of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, and fronted by Deep Purple’s Richie Blackmore. Until they released this song, I could take or leave them.
Mostly leave them.

But the arrival of a new lead vocalist, Graham Bonnet, made a difference for me, and I thought this was a storming vocal that lifted the song to new heights. I went out and bought it…

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Wish You Were Here?: Holiday Postcards

Is a photograph with a few lines attached, sent from a smartphone, any less personal than a postcard? I don’t know. Each has its merits, I suppose.


Are you old enough to remember when we sent picture postcards from our holidays? Nice scenes of the place where we were staying, photos of sunny beaches, or the traditional British ‘saucy joke’ cards?

The modern advance of phone cameras, Facebook, Instagram, and many other social media platforms has more or less killed off the hand-written postcard. That along with the cost of postage, and the chore of buying them, writing them, and buying stamps to post them. I remember them with great fondness though, and I was still sending them regularly, as recently as 1990.

The first picture postcard officially recognised as such was sent in 1840, in London. The Victorian era in Britain saw the practice quickly taken up by holidaymakers though, as rail travel broadened the horizons of ordinary people, and they were keen to tell their friends, family, or work colleagues just what a great time…

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Books, Books, and More Books

Reading is still very popular, despite the multifarious competition, and long may it remain so!


Ever since I started this blog, I have noticed quite a few things. One of those is that lots of people blog about books. And I mean LOTS!

They review books, they blog about books they are reading, and they blog about books they have read before. They list their Goodreads selections, and how many books they have already read that year. Many mention their TBR (To be read) piles, often wondering if they can ever possibly get to the end of them. I soon realised that where books are concerned, I am a very small fish, in a crowded ocean of literary sea lions.

Well done to them all. I love that people are still reading. It doesn’t matter whether they are using an electronic device, or turning the pages of a huge hardback. It has to be better than watching TV all day, or playing video games.


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Ideas For Keeping Your Blog Fresh

If you enjoy blogging, but you sometimes need inspiration, here are some very useful suggestions.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Writing a blog | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Struggling for blog ideas? Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom // CC0 1.0

Blogging consistently for days and years takes its toll. The mind struggles to generate ideas strong enough to keep the blog fresh. Over time, even a well-intentioned blogger who makes a fair effort to achieve success will fall prey to this strain.

Call it laziness, call it writer’s block, call it the demise of the artist or whatever you want really. The outcome is the same… A blog in severe decline.

There’s nothing more drabby than an unloved blog. If an audience ever arrives at such a display of neglect, which they probably won’t, they’ll immediately get the impression that the individual behind the blog will be equally inattentive to their needs.

If the blog is well maintained and full of original, fresh, and inspiring content, then you will benefit from increased traffic, revenue, and sales, if that is…

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Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Perhaps we British don’t Babel enough?


Speaking English.

I watched a report on the news yesterday. It was about an Irish girl who has gone missing in Malaysia. The local police chief made a statement, and he made it in English. Admittedly, he had a strong accent, but I could easily understand everything he said. It occurred to me that if a Malaysian girl had gone missing in England, or Ireland, then our respective police chiefs would have been highly unlikely to have been able to present a report in her language, and would have almost certainly used an interpreter, or not bothered to refer to her native language in any way.

Not for the first time in my life, I thought how lucky I am to have been born as an English-speaker. For as long as I can remember, English has been widely-spoken, all over the world. It is very unusual for someone to be…

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Dealing with Vampires the New England Way

A fascinating insight into the strange practices brought about by blameless ignorance of a serious medical condition, in 17th & 18th century New England.

Nicholas C. Rossis

In early 19th century rural New England, there was little doubt about how to deal with vampires: you dug up the corpse, took head and limbs, and rearranged them on top of the ribs in the design of a skull and crossbones. That would stop the mischevious spirit from haunting the living.

JB 55

John Barber | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Image:

Such was the fate that befell John Barber. And yet, as The Washington Post explains, John was no vampire. He was probably a hard-working farmer. Missing his top front teeth, he was no neck biter. He had a broken collar bone that had not healed right and an arthritic knee that may have made him limp, and he had died an awful death, probably from tuberculosis, which was so bad it had scarred his ribs.

Two hundred years later, he was destined to become the country’s only supposed “vampire” whose bones have been studied…

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